How stereotypes affect people

Assumptions, we all make them. They help us. Yes, they do. But what happens when you assume someone’s opinions, their sexual orientation, their ability to do something, their financial status, and even their morals? Stereotypes are overgeneralized ideas of what a certain group of individuals should have in common. By stereotyping, we “assume” what a person of a certain group should or should not have as their characteristics.

There have been multiple studies that show how a stereotype can change a person’s behavior, their response to a situation, and even self-image. Stereotypes have undesirable effects on our personality development and the types of activities we do, as well as the way we live and the careers we choose.

There was a study done by Katz and Braly (1933) on Racial Stereotyping. They selected a group of people and gave them a list of characteristics that the group had to assign to a particular type of individual(s), who were differentiated based on their race. The study showed that most of the traits that indicated active lifestyle, hardworking and ambitious behaviors were assigned to white Americans. The characters that implied laziness and unprogressive behaviors were assigned to the individuals who were of African American race. In a related study, when individuals facing performance threat were given a test, it was shown that African American participants performed less well than their White American counterparts. According to Steele, stereotype threat generates “spotlight anxiety” (Steele & Aronson, 1995, p. 809), which causes emotional distress, “vigilant worry,” and “attributional ambiguity,” which can then lead to an underwhelming performance under stress situations.

In a similar study, two groups of women were selected. One group was then reminded of their Asian descent, and another was reminded of them being female, and the one reminded of their descent performed way better than the other one. The reason that came up the most for the result was stereotypical bias.

Stereotypes not only try to strip people of their individuality but also try to mold them into someone they are not. This type of bias, when applied to children, can affect their self-expression, academic success, body image, emotional health, etc. Kids learn from the people that surround them. Forcing young boys to be emotionally unavailable and young girls to be caregivers is something that when they take in their adult life causes a lot of distress not only on an individual level but also massively on a societal level. If they are taught to behave like a stereotype, they can sometimes grow up to not accept other people who do not act in the same way that they do. These things are also a big reason for the hate crimes that a specific group experiences due to stereotypical bias, whether due to their race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc.

Media also has a big role in feeding into these stereotypes that lead us to believe that this is the way of life. However, offering education free of stereotypes does not mean taking away all “boys’ toys” and “girls’ toys,” such as dolls or fire trucks. Rather, it means actively encouraging children to make choices usually associated with the other gender. Children should be taught that someone’s way of talking does not describe their sexual orientation. Someone’s sexual orientation or race does not define their ideologies. Everyone deserves a chance to be someone that they want to be without fear of being judged or experiencing hate for who they are, especially when they can’t change it.

Written by – Chaarvi Dwivedi

ROLE OF SCIENCES FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT – TODAY AND TOMORROW

What exactly do peace and development refer to?

Peace in today’s world can very well be described as a sort of abstract utopian concept longed for, ie a common goal and state of rest. This is clearly contradicted and humiliated in today’s world with the ongoing thirst and hunger for power, territory, and capital. At the same time, development refers to a long-drawn process which can contribute towards creating growth, positive change, or simply an improvement in the physical, mental or social surroundings of any human being.

So now the crucial question which comes into mind is, “where exactly does science fit into this complex demographic?”. Science, whose nature is yet to be known and harnessed, its power unmatched, put into such a dangerous and volatile situation.

Limiting the capabilities of science to plainly its subjective attributes- physics, chemistry, biology etc. is an injustice to the core of the subject. Its scope includes the likes of social, economic, and environmental science, which are increasingly being incorporated into our daily lives and can be said to bring about tangible positive changes. For peace, science provides the greatest boon in today’s disease-stricken world in the form of medicines. Even in today’s highly sensitive virus-stricken environment, countries all over the world are able to share and discuss their individual discoveries, findings and hence contribute towards improving the world situation as a whole and henceforth try to bring about a state of rest and normalcy for all. Science furthermore opens up various new horizons for career opportunities and hence improves the employment conditions, further enabling stability to exist that can eventually contribute towards peace within a country or area. It also creates the environment needed for learning and education.

This is a beneficial effect because by improving education in a country, we improve the society for future generations. Hence, it can inculcate within them an early habit of staying in a state of peace and maintaining peace which will only be helpful in building society. Suppose I were to illustrate this argument further using an example. In that case, we can educate even five children who have been born and brought up in dire conditions; they might grow up and learn to sustain themselves by good means, in contrast to today’s scenario where many of the poverty-stricken, unemployed people, especially the youth is turning to crime or even war as seen in the northern parts of our very own country. These are the parts where the resources are so scarce and underdeveloped that the people have no choice but to try and survive of anything, desperate and needy for minimum sustenance.

Science hence if not directly, indirectly, can bring out a sure-shot habit of peace.

While at the same time, if we were to talk about the direct implications of science on bringing about peace, a prominent successful example necessary to include would be the current dealings and proceedings of the honest attempt to foster harmony between the war-stricken nations and people – the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The conflict between these two has been raging on since 1948 imply after the modern Jewish state was newly founded. It is not as though attempts haven’t been made to bring peace in these countries. on several occasions, there have been attempts to find common ground to arrive at a consensus to achieve peace and stability for peoples of both sides. These efforts even included endeavours to promote interaction, collaboration and peace-building between the two groups, but somehow always ended in hostility. There was no tangible change seen until 2002 when the IPSO, the Israeli Palestinian science organisation, was launched to bring together scientists from both sides to pursue joint projects.

The grants issued under the program require the consensus and partnership of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Following its mission statement, the IPSO proposes to establish a model of infrastructure that promotes, creates and sustains development educations and, most importantly, the collaboration between the communities through the universal language of science using innovative projects and initiatives. Scientific research endeavours involving people working together as equal partners would produce practical results and would likewise engender personal trust and friendship between people living in the two communities. Hence improve the conditions required to attain common goals and further peace by enabling the parties to arrive at a common ground beneficial for growth and support for both.

Surprising too is the lack of awareness of institutions such as IPSO and its vision for promoting peace through collaborative interactions between Palestinian and Israeli scientists. The workings of the IPSO can be used as an important model to base future organisations and missions upon in such similar conflict-prone areas, which will eventually benefit from common associations applicable to both concerned parties with a common independent goal and indirect implication on peace.

If I was to talk about science and development, there is no doubt that these two factors go hand in hand. Without science, there can virtually be no development. In fact, one of the largest and effective strategies devised in the last century of sustainable development, which includes the idea of using resource judiciously, is the very component of earth and economic sciences.

Sustainable development in the past century has proven to be an advantageous strategy in terms of its terms for use and mission statements which include using only for our own needs and preserving enough for the coming generations for them to undergo development with exactly the same freedom present generations have been able to.

Furthermore, suppose we were to analyse the implications of the actions of ancient civilisations and colonies. They have constantly been developing themselves and their organisations using new techniques and methodology as the basis of trials and errors, which can be deduced as the first scientific experiments seen in modern civilisations. Whether it includes discoveries in the forms of new materials, technologies, etc. that have found practical application in various areas of production of economic goods that have become in common use by people, they have increased prosperity and made life easier.

This may have worked for them progressively and effectively, however recently, the norms and uses of the world with the increasing global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, increased risk of various climatic cataclysms, increased environmental pollution, declining resources of raw materials, arable land and clean water, the need to develop renewable sources of energy, electromobility, recycling have created the need to develop business processes according to the model of sustainable pro-ecological development and the green economy concept which are also constantly evolving. We can say that the two do go directly hand in hand.

If I were to compare the 3, science, peace and development, to an object, it would be to the branches of a tree called society. These three factors cannot grow and flourish in sanctity without the support of society. Furthermore, all contribute equally in some way or the other to the overall growth of the tree by bearing fruits etc. which implicates directly on society to maintain it economically and keep it standing, which is exactly the role science needs to fulfil in today’s changing world.

Written by – By Tanisha Rungta

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EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA

Erasmus, once quoted that“The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its Youth “.

But the education of a citizen of a country depends primarily on its education system. Unfortunately,the education system in India is not the best one. Lack of reforms and improvements are making it quite boring and ineffective. There are many factors that are leading this problem of students’ disinterest in schooling and appears to be a burden.

LOOPHOLES IN INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM:

☆ The lack of sufficient funds is the main the problem in the development of tutoring. The government must increase the allocation of funds in the teaching sector so that it can develop.

☆ Frequent absenteeism is a huge problem in government schools and thus the nation suffers bit by bit every single day.

☆ The biggest problem which it has to face is the poor grading system. It judges the intelligence of a student on the basis of academics which is in the form of exam papers. This becomes problematic for students who are not good at specific subjects.

☆ Students are pressurised to gain good marks,which they do by just mugging up instead of understanding the concept thoroughly.

☆ Lack of proper infrastructure.

☆ Lack of qualified teachers creates a huge problem in developing the educational sector in India.

Many policies have been introduced by our government to overcome the drawbacks of our teaching system, Like SarvShikshaAbhiyan,an initiative by the government of India to provide basic education to all the children at least the till the age of 14.Government worked with the main ideology that being educated is the right of all.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 29th July 2020, primarily implemented to improve the entire teaching method in India with its main I focus on education and learning and make “India a global knowledge superpower”. The last education policy has been implemented in 1986, 34 years ago, which was slightly amended in 1992.

national education policy

If we walk about the key features of NEP 2020,then basically it emphasizesholistic and multidisciplinary education for prospective students.

But the fact that willthe new education policy i.e. NEP 2020 succeed in removingthe loophholes in the current education system in India?

Our government has framed policies regarding the education system, but it’s success still lies in its implementation.

The government must emphasize on the proper implementation of the orders and check whether everything is happeningas per plan. Solelyforming policies and programswon’t work. Ground check of policy implementation is of utmost importance.

Therefore it is a great beginning. Althougheducation has come a long way and changes are visible,we need to do a lot more in the coming time.

So, our policymakers must look into the problem to make a better system that is more practical and provides hands-on learning to the students.

The true education system would indeed assist us to master our destiny.

Written by Ankita Singh

WEAPONRY AND WOMEN: RESERVOIR OF NEW ENERGY

A glass ceiling was completely closed on Thursday when Defence Ministry of India sanctioned a formal letter granting permanent commission to women officers in the eight more branches of the Indian army. Following the Supreme Court, the endless struggle to break the gender discrimination and provide equality for women in the Army had to be battled right up to the peak level. The sanction letter of the Indian government specifies that women’s short-service Commission (SSC) will be granted in all the 10 streams in which they serve presently as the cause for occasional celebration.

“In the anticipation, the Army HQ had already set in motion a series of preparatory actions for conduct the permanent commission selection board for eligible women officers. The board will be scheduled as soon as all eligible women SSC officers exercise their options and requisite their documentation,” said an Army personnel on Thursday.

Women were introduced in the Indian Army only in short service commission since 1992. In 2008, women were first inducted as permanent commissioned officers in Legal and Education branches only. In 2020, 8 more crops are added as permanent commissioned officers is undoubtedly a good sign to break all prejudices associated with the Armed forces. Till now the percentage of women in the Indian Army was 3.89%, air force 13.28%, and navy 6.7% only. The irony is that only 1,653 women are serving in the Indian army of the 40,825 total officers.

Some intangible reasons like motherhood, physiological limitations, and troops from rural backgrounds not accepting women in a command role were quoted by our government but in February, it was discarded by Supreme Court at the time of giving permanent status to women in the Army.

The time has come for a realization that women officers in the Army are not adjuncts to a male-dominated establishment whose presence must be tolerated within narrow confines.”-Supreme Court.

This is not the first time in India that a woman has been seen as a warrior. History bears the witness to the battlefield story of Lakshmi Bai, the Queen of Jhansi. She is always remembered for her leadership in the war of independence against the British troops.

In 1943, amidst world war2, the Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose also created the Rani Jhansi Regiment, all women crops of soldiers.

However, patriarchal society cannot accept this mutiny so lightly. In other parts of the world, in countries such as Israel and the United State, women were exempted to be active on the battlefield. And here our government is being pushed to make women’s role a bit more active in the Indian Army.

It can be assumed that for this sex stereotype and gender discrimination feminism was derived in India. Indian feminists have fought against some cultural issues within India’s misogynist society. The sorrowful thing is where women are revered as a goddess, their women have to fight for their existence even after so many years of independence. Such a healthy society can never be built with misogyny. So it is needless to say that the decision that the Supreme Court made will uproot these prejudices even a little bit. Our government also needs to think more deeply about equality.

Though the picture has changed a lot and gender barrier may have loosened eventually but the constant struggle against inequity is too far from the finishing line.

-Saswati Chattopadhyay.

THE CHABAHAR CONTROVERSY

On July 14th, various news outlets reported that Iran has dropped India from the Chabahar project, which was aimed at building a railway line linking Chabahar port to Zahedan which was to be further extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan.

The agreement to build the Chabahar-Zahedan rail line was signed four years ago between India and Iran. But now, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction and the track laying process of the 628 Km long railway line on its own saying that there have been delays in funds from the Indian side to start the project.

Officials told The Hindu that “the entire project would be completed by March 2022, and that Iranian Railways will proceed without India’s assistance, using approximately $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.”

This project was meant to be part of a Trilateral Agreement between India, Iran, and Afghanistan, to construct another trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

The Indian government, however, denied this report and called it “speculative”. The Times of India reported that “New Delhi remained committed to financing and building the railway and was continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

On 16th July, Iran clarified that it made no deal with India on the Chabahar Railway project.

Farhad Montaser, a deputy to Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, claimed that the report was “totally false because Iran has not inked any deal with India regarding the Chabahar-Zahedan railway.”

“We had a list of Indian investments in Chabahar port, which also included the issue of Chabahar railway infrastructure and the railway but during the negotiations, it was not agreed,” he told official news agency IRNA.

He further clarified that “Iran has only signed two agreements with Indians for investment in Chabahar: one is related to the port’s machinery and equipment, and the second is related to India’s investment to the tune of $150 million.”

Mr. Montaser concluded that the US sanctions have nothing to do to Iran-India’s cooperation in Chabahar”.

In 2018, the United States had agreed to a waiver on Chabahar port projects under IFCA (Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act).

The Indian government on 16th July said the project was waiting for the appointment of authority by Iran to resolve outstanding financial and technical issues.

“The MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) said India’s main investment in the Chabahar Port where it has taken over operations of one terminal, had progressed well in the last few years, handling 82 ships with 12 lakh tonnes of bulk cargo in 8200 containers since December 2018”, reported The Hindu.

MEA spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, said that since 2016, there has been progress on the Chabahar port project, despite the difficulties posed by the sanctions situation.

Srivastava stated, “ IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company Limited) was appointed by India to assess the feasibility of the project. It was working with CDTIC, an Iranian company under the ministry of railways in that regard. IRCON has completed the site inspection and review of the feasibility report.”

“Detailed discussions were thereafter held on other relevant aspects of the project, which had to take into account various challenges that Iran was facing. In December 2019, these issues were reviewed in detail at the 19th Iran-India Joint commission meeting in Tehran,” said Anurag Srivastava.

 He further said, “In December 2019, issues [on the railway line] were reviewed in detail at the 19th India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting in Tehran. The Iranian side was to nominate an authorized entity to finalize outstanding technical and financial issues.”

Mr. Srivastava, however, declined to comment specifically on Iran’s decision to begin the project without India.

The MEA confirmed that due to policy changes on the Iranian side, India is no longer involved in the Farzad-B gas field project. The ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) had not only signed an agreement for exploration in 2002 but also invested around $100 million so far. The MEA didn’t give further details on this subject.

Mr. Srivastava said that “In January 2020, we were informed that in the immediate future, Iran would develop the field on its own and would like to involve India appropriately at a later stage. This matter remains under discussion.”

India had offered to invest approximately $6 billion in the Farzad-B gas field project, and $1.6 billion in the Chabahar Zahedan railway line.

                                        – Aanandita Singh